Every May, millions of people across the country find themselves wondering the same thing: What do I get mom for Mother’s Day?
Growing up, the answer to that question was easy – make her something, which I remember doing quite often. However, that philosophy doesn’t work forever. Eventually, handmade crafts lose their luster, especially coming from a teenage boy. At that stage in life, I remember finding a trinket or two with something nice written on it like “World’s Best Mom.”
After getting married and starting my own family, I knew I couldn’t go wrong by incorporating her favorite little one into the gift – her grandson.
If I knew back then what I know now as a father, I wouldn’t have spent as much time pondering over a Mother’s Day gift. Why? Well, the answer is simple. Parents, especially mothers, just want to see or hear from their kids on Mother’s Day. While I talked to my mom on the phone a few times a week and visited her as often as I could, I know she would have preferred I called every day and visited more often.
It’s crazy to think about how quickly life changes. For instance, when you are young, you take things for granted and think your parents are invincible.
After seeing my mom practically every day of my life from birth to the age of 18, things changed when I left for The Ohio State University. While in college, I would call my mom off and on, but I knew I would see her again when I returned home on the occasional weekend for some home cooking or to do laundry. Even at that stage in my life, I took for granted the fact she picked up every time I called, and she was only a 50-minute drive away.
Even after my mom got sick and spent months in the hospital and was in a rehabilitation facility when my son was born, I always thought there would be more time to spend with her. Luckily, I got five more years with my mom after she got sick, but it wasn’t nearly long enough.
Unfortunately, back in October 2019, I lost the woman who was always there for me no matter what. Instantly, reality set in and I realized no one truly knows how much time they have on this earth, which is why we should never take a day for granted. You never know when a routine visit or a short phone call with your mom will be your last.
The last visit I had with my mom before she passed almost never happened. For several years, my mom was in and out of the hospital. Most of the time, she was in for less than a day or so. About two weeks before she passed, my mom was admitted to the hospital. This particular time she was told she would probably have to stay a few days, so I made the hour-and-a-half drive to see her one day after work. Before heading to the hospital, I confirmed with a nurse that I would be allowed to visit after hours since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get down there until after 8 p.m.
Upon arrival, however, the security guard said no visitors were allowed unless they were staying overnight. I explained my situation and that I drove down only after being told it would be okay to visit. After she made a call to the nurse on staff that evening, the security guard said I was free to go up, and she quietly whispered she was going to let me go up no matter what.
Little did that security guard know, but she gave me one final memory with my mother as it was the last time I saw her alive. It was a two-hour visit I will never forget. We talked about life, shared some tears, and said what turned out to be our final goodbyes in person. What I wouldn’t give to spend time with her again or talk to her on the phone, even for a brief moment.
So, no matter how busy you are or whatever plans you have on Mother’s Day this year and for years to come, I urge you to find the time to visit or call your mother if you are lucky enough to have that opportunity. Trust me, as a parent myself, there is nothing more your mom wants than to see you or hear your voice.
One final piece of advice, if I might. I know life can get crazy at times, but you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to visit or talk with your parents. Give them a call from time to time or find time to stop over. Even if you’ve driven them crazy your entire life, you will never stop being their baby.
Joshua Keeran is editor of The Delaware Gazette. Reach him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 740-413-0900.